Can You Put Trainers in the Washing Machine?

Written by Dan | 13/10/2023



How To

Ever wondered, “Can you put trainers in the washing machine?” for a quick and easy clean? Well, you’re not alone. Many of us have faced this question and have been too afraid to take the plunge. But fear not, we’re here to provide the ultimate guide on washing trainers in the washing machine and how to maintain their pristine condition. Keep reading to learn the do’s and don’ts of washing trainers, along with some handy tips and tricks.

Key Takeaways

  • It is safe to wash trainers in a washing machine, Care label instructions and materials should be checked first.
  • Proper preparation of trainers is essential for successful cleaning. Use a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase and add towels to the drum for protection.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when selecting detergent and cycle settings, as well as air drying techniques post-washing. Regular maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your shoes.

Is Washing Trainers in the Washing Machine Safe?

Six pairs of designer trainers


Correctly washing trainers in a washing machine can be safe and effective. However, prior to this, verify the care label instructions and the materials used in the trainers. Some materials, like nylon and canvas, are suitable for machine washing, while others, such as animal-based fabrics or fragile materials like satin or silk, should not be laundered in a machine.

Consider alternative methods like hand washing if the care label advises against machine washing.


Check the Care Label


Always consult the manufacturer’s care instructions before attempting to wash your trainers in the washing machine. The care label provides information regarding fabric composition and care, including symbols that guide you on how to:

  • wash
  • dry
  • iron
  • bleach

Adhering to the care label instructions guarantees safe and effective cleaning of your trainers, without inflicting any damage.


Material Considerations


Before washing your trainers in a machine, considering the materials they’re made of – such as synthetic, canvas, leather, or suede – is vital. Proper washing and drying techniques can help remove excess moisture and maintain the trainers’ quality.

A successful machine wash experience is ensured by adhering to the care label instructions, selecting a delicate cycle, and using a mild detergent or washing up liquid.

How to Wash Trainers in a Washing Machine: A Step-by-Step Guide

A pair of white Nike trainers - can you put them in the washing machine?


Now that we’ve established that trainers can be safely washed in a washing machine, here’s a step-by-step guide on proceeding correctly.

These steps guarantee your trainers will emerge clean and undamaged, ready for another pavement pounding.


Preparing Your Trainers


Before tossing your trainers into the machine, make sure you prepare them correctly. Start by removing the laces and insoles. This allows for a more thorough cleaning and prevents any potential damage.

Next, pre-treat any stains on your trainers with a mild stain remover or a combination of water and detergent. Scrub any loose dirt from the surface with a brush, using an old toothbrush for smaller areas like eyelets and a larger, stiff-bristled brush for the rest of the shoe. Be sure to remove any wet dirt as well, as it can cause further staining if left unattended.

Correct preparation guarantees thorough cleaning of your trainers and prevents any washing process damage.


Protecting Your Trainers and Machine


To protect your trainers and washing machine, place the shoes and laces in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This prevents the trainers from becoming tangled in the machine and helps protect the washing machine drum.

Adding a few towels to the drum can also reduce noise and prevent your trainers from hitting the sides of the machine too hard. Such simple precautions guarantee a safe and effective washing experience for your trainers as well as your washing machine and tumble dryer.


Choosing the Right Detergent and Cycle


Choosing the appropriate detergent and cycle is vital for correctly washing your trainers. Opt for a mild detergent and a gentle cycle to ensure that your trainers are cleaned without causing any damage.

It’s important to use cold water instead of hot water, as cold water is gentler on the fabric and helps prevent colour fading. Adherence to these guidelines guarantees effective cleaning of your trainers without any hitches.

Tips for Drying and Maintaining Your Trainers

Four angles of a Nike trainer


Correct drying and maintenance of your trainers post-washing is vital for extending their lifespan and maintaining their freshness.

In this section, we’ll explore some techniques for drying your trainers and tips for regular maintenance to ensure they stay in top condition.


Air-Drying Techniques


Post-washing, it’s vital to let your trainers air dry in a space with good ventilation to absorb excess moisture. Avoid placing them near direct heat sources, such as radiators, as this can cause damage to the material. To help absorb moisture, stuff your trainers with scrunched-up newspaper or cotton cloth, depending on the trainer colour. This will also help maintain the correct shape of the shoe during the drying process.

Air-drying your trainers might take a bit longer than other methods, but patience pays off with worthwhile results.


Regular Maintenance


Regular maintenance is key to keeping your trainers looking their best. This includes:

  1. Spot-cleaning stains with a damp cloth and mild detergent.
  2. Gently rubbing the cloth over the fabric to remove dirt and stains.
  3. Letting the trainers air dry.


Furthermore, correctly storing your trainers is fundamental to preserving their appearance. Store them in a shoe box or bag, away from direct sunlight, to protect them from dust and dirt. Regular maintenance ensures your trainers remain fresh and action-ready.


Troubleshooting Common Issues with Washing Trainers

Six pairs of machine-washable trainers


Sometimes, despite our best efforts, issues can arise when washing trainers in the washing machine. This section addresses common problems like fading and stubborn stains, offering solutions to help confront these challenges directly.


Preventing Fading and Discolouration


Fading and discolouration can occur when washing trainers in the machine, resulting in an uneven or discoloured appearance. To prevent this issue, use a colour-safe detergent and wash your trainers on a gentle cycle with cold water.

Ensuring your trainers are washed separately in a laundry bag or pillowcase can also help prevent fading and discolouration. Following these tips will maintain the vibrant and fresh look of your trainers.


Dealing with Stubborn Stains


Stubborn stains can be a challenge when washing trainers in a machine. Pre-treating stains with an enzymatic stain remover or a stain stick before washing can help lift these pesky marks and improve cleaning results.

For particularly stubborn stains, try using a specialised stain remover designed for fabric or synthetic materials. Apply the stain remover according to the instructions and let it sit for a few minutes before washing. Confronting stubborn stains directly helps keep your trainers at their best.


Additional Care Tips for Different Types of Trainers

Machine-washable trainers?


Different types of trainers require unique care methods to ensure they stay in top condition. This section unveils additional care tips for athletic shoes, casual sneakers, and speciality footwear, facilitating the maintenance of your entire trainer collection’s freshness and cleanliness.


Athletic Shoes


Athletic shoes often require special care to keep them in top shape. To wash shoes effectively, consider washing insoles separately and using a sports-specific detergent for your athletic shoes.

Also, it’s important to clean the soles regularly to prevent dirt and debris from accumulating, which can affect the performance of your shoes. Proper care of your athletic shoes guarantees they’re prepared for your next workout or game.


Casual Sneakers


Casual sneakers can benefit from regular spot-cleaning to maintain their appearance. Use a soft brush to remove dirt and debris from the surface, and clean any stains with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

Proper storage is also important for keeping your casual sneakers looking fresh. Store them in a shoe box or bag to protect them from dust and dirt. These care tips ensure your casual sneakers retain their great look for any occasion.


Speciality Footwear


Speciality footwear, such as leather or suede trainers, may require unique care methods to ensure they stay in top condition. Avoid washing these types of trainers in a machine, and instead, use specialised cleaning products designed for their specific materials.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance will help protect your speciality footwear and prolong its lifespan. Careful treatment of your speciality footwear ensures their best look for years to come.



In conclusion, washing trainers in a washing machine can be safe and effective when done correctly. By following our step-by-step guide and tips for drying, maintaining, and troubleshooting common issues, you’ll be able to keep your trainers looking fresh and clean. Remember to always check the care label and consider the materials of your trainers before washing them in the machine. With proper care and maintenance, your trainers will stay in top condition, ready for whatever adventures come your way.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wash trainers at 40 degrees?

It’s recommended to wash trainers at 30 degrees with a good colour detergent in order to avoid damaging the coating, such as fading or running of colours. Therefore, washing trainers at 40 degrees is not ideal.

What is the best way to clean trainers?

Remove excess dirt from trainers, then wipe away stains with a mild, eco-friendly laundry detergent mixed with lukewarm water. Use a hard-bristled brush for more stubborn stains, and make an effective cleaning paste with bicarbonate of soda and water for white and light-coloured shoes. Finally, dip a flannel in warm water to remove any excess soap.

Can I wash my leather trainers in the washing machine?

It is not recommended to wash leather trainers in the washing machine; instead, use specialised cleaning products designed for leather. Check our guide on cleaning leather trainers.

What should I do if my trainers have stubborn stains?

Pre-treat stubborn stains with an enzymatic stain remover or a stain stick before washing to ensure the best results.

Is it safe to dry my trainers in a tumble dryer?

It is not recommended to put trainers in a tumble dryer, as the heat could cause damage.

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